Friday, October 6, 2017

2017 Maine Ski Swaps

Last updated October 18, 2017

Here is the 2017 edition of the @MaineSkiFamily ski swap guide. Over the past years, I have
posted dates, times and locations of Maine based ski swaps and I am doing the same this year. It is by far the most popular page on my blog so please use this listing guide and spread the word! If there is a swap that you know of missing from the list please comment below or email me

The Ski Swap Line - A sign of winter to come!
If you are new to ski swaps, you can read my post on Ski Swap Strategies.

To stay up to date on all things Maine skiing, please like my Facebook Page You can also follow me on Twitter for skiing and other ramblings.

Happy Swapping!

7th - 9th - Ski Depot in Jay and Happy Tunes in Carrabassett Valley are having holiday weekend tent sales. Not a ski swap but lots of gear at sale prices.

14th - The Central Maine Ski Club is holding their first ever ski swap from 9AM - 3PM at the George Mitchell School in Waterville. Click here for more info.

14th - The Penobscot Valley Ski Club is holding a Ski Swap / Sale at Bangor Parks & Rec from 9AM - 4PM. Click here for more info.

19th - The Cape Elizabeth Alpine Team is holding a ski swap 9AM - Noon at the Middle School Cafeteria. Contact for more info and the ski swap poster can be found by clicking here

27th - 28th - The Bethel Outing Club is having their 36th annual a ski swap  / sale over two days at the Gould Academy Field House. Click here for more info.

4th - The Freeport Ski Boosters will have a swap from 9:30am - 12:30pm in the Freeport High School Gym. Again this year Sport Thoma will be participating. Click here for more info.

4th - All Speed Cyclery and Snow in Portland has a swap Nov 4th. Seller proceeds can either be check or store credit. Sales starts 10am. Click here FMI.

5th - Brunswick Park and Recreation 49th Annual Ski Sale will be at Brunswick Landing from 1pm - 4pm. Click here FMI.

12th - The 54th annual Auburn Ski Association Ski Swap will be held on Sunday, November 12 from 9:00am - 2:00pm at Auburn Middle School off Court Street on Falcon Drive in Auburn. Keep an eye on their website for more info.

18th - Pinnacle Ski Club in Pittsfield has a ski swap annually the third Saturday in November from 9am–4pm Drop off items on the Friday before from 6pm–9pm. Keep an eye on their website for more info.

18th - Yarmouth Ski Club Ski Sale & Swap will be at Yarmouth Elementary School on Saturday, November 18th from 9am - 12pm. Equipment drop off Friday from 5pm - 8pm.

25th - Downeast Ski Club ski sale is held annually the Saturday after Thanksgiving at the Portland Expo. More info here.

25th - The Friends of Squaw Mountain will have a ski swap Saturday, November 25th from 10AM to 3PM at Greenville High School.



As I receive confirmation of other 2017 swaps I will be updating this blog post. Feel free to comment on the post if you know of other Maine based swaps that are happening and I will update the list.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Freeport 2017 Ski Swap and Sale

It's ski swap season again! I will be getting my annual ski swap page up soon, but here is some information about a ski swap happening in my hometown of Freeport, Maine. 



Saturday, November 4th, 9:30 – 12:30

Freeport High School Gym

 30 Holbrook Street, Freeport, ME

Bigger and better than ever – so much stuff we’ve had to move into the gym!
It’s always a smart idea to get a jump on your gear situation at the beginning of every season. So take an inventory of what you have; make a list of what you need; and join us at the Freeport Ski Boosters Annual Ski Swap & Sale! We’ve again partnered with Sport Thoma – five times voted a Ski Magazine “Top 50 Ski Shops in the USA” – to bring you a HUGE selection of new and used equipment, gear, and accessories. So big of a selection we’ve outgrown our former digs and have moved to the FHS Gymnasium. So join us Saturday, November 4th from 9:30am-12:30 at the Freeport High School Gym and get your winter gear now while prices are low and choices are plentiful. It doesn’t matter if it’s gloves, goggles, boots, boards, skis, we’ll have it; but don’t wait or we won’t have it, and neither will you… See you on 11/4/17!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Observations on the Latest Saddleback Developments

What a week for Saddleback! The long rumored Australian buyer surfaced and the Majella group has executed an agreement with the Berry family to allow them to go full steam ahead in getting
Saddleback ready to ski again! The final deal closing is expected later this summer.
Warden's Worry at Saddleback

For those looking to catch up here are some observations / facts of the deal with some random thoughts thrown in:

Interesting mix of old and new, local and “from away” - As Majella CEO Sebastian Monsour said at the press conference “As you can see, I am truly from away. There are few places that are further from here than Australia.” How true this is. I went to Australia once. I left on a Wednesday afternoon and landed in Sydney on Friday morning with Thursday mysteriously vaporizing. However, Fred LaMontage who has long ties with the city of Portland along with former Saddleback finance director Greg Andrews and Rangeley real estate developer Perry Williams will be part of the new management team. And in my opinion in a very strong move Jim Quimby will come back as the on-mountain manager. I always thought the on-hill operations was run very well under Jim’s leadership and it is great to see him stay on with the new ownership group. I am sure we will some some familiar and new faces as the team rounds out. It is a good mix of old and new to bring Saddleback to the next chapter.

Be open to change - Mr. Monsour said at the press conference. “So we are making this commitment to you today that not only will we be turning Saddleback into the premier ski resort in North America, but also into a four-season resort that we know and all think it deserves to be.” This is a big statement. It will require capital and change. It will be interesting to see how the new ownership group will move forward on this goal. One of the reasons I loved Saddleback, affordable with rarely any significant lift lines and trails all to myself, is exactly the reason why it did not work as a business model. They need more skiers and more revenue... period. And to do that they need more entertainment, recreational and lodging offerings at the ski area. It is that simple. Us Saddlebacker’s need to be open to change, embrace it and know that without it, we will not be able to enjoy the mountain... and cross our fingers that we can still afford it!

First up - new lifts - They have already started the design process for lifts to replace the Rangeley Double and T-Bar. The Rangeley will be replaced with a fixed gripped quad (think Sugarloaf’s Skyline lift) and the T-Bar will get a new surface lift. Both solid replacements and the owners have decided not to go high-speed detachable.  I wonder if some of these older lifts will serve future expansion? Time will tell. Majella is sinking some major money in early… a good sign.

And be patient - The new ownership group is basically starting over. They have a mountain that has been shuttered for two years that they have to bring back to life. They have to hire staff, get marketing & the website setup, get food service setup, install two lifts and all that goes with that, get all the business permits, set up an accounting and HR system, get the ski school and rental shops going, interface with the condo associations and local businesses, and on and on and on. They have not committed to an opening date this year and I don’t blame them! As they said in the press conference “When our team has a date that ensures we can deliver to you the skiing experience that all of you deserve, you will know, and it’s as simple as that.” We have to take them at their word.

So this is an exciting time. The Saddleback Facebook page has come back to life and they are already engaging with their customers. There are a million questions that everyone has, their press release and FAQ answers a lot of them, but more questions and answers to come. It won’t be a perfect roll out, they admit as much, but they seem ready to dive in to make things happen and learn from their mistakes. I am very glad the people and businesses of Rangeley will have more places to work and more visitors to fill up the restaurants and lodging establishments.

The @MaineSkiFamily crew sincerely welcomes Majella group to Maine. We wish them all the best and we are looking forward to skiing our favorite Saddleback trails again when the time is right.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017


So a press conference is scheduled for Wednesday, June 27, 2017 at the SADDLEBACK MAINE base lodge where according to the Portland Press Herald in attendance will be "the resort’s sellers, Bill and Irene Berry, the future owners of the resort and representatives from Maine’s congressional delegation."
This is great news for the Rangeley region. My hope is that the lifts will spin again for the skiers and condo owners, people will be employed again at Saddleback and the Rangeley area restaurants and lodging establishments will be full this winter.
It is very likely that the good folks behind the Saddleback Mountain Foundation are not part of the new ownership group. Before it gets lost in the shuffle tomorrow - I want to personally send out a big thank you to Peter Stein and all the people behind the foundations effort. You kept the Saddleback spirit alive during these dark and trying times.
It will be interesting to hear the plans of the new ownership group. We will all find out together tomorrow. Maybe, just maybe... this winter will be the start of a new chapter at Saddleback.

Monday, March 20, 2017

First day of Spring - Plenty of Skiing Left

@ISalisbury Ripping Up the Fresh "Stella" Snow at Sugarloaf
I haven’t been posting as much on the blog this year as we have been relying on Twitter and Facebook to post about our Maine ski days. Since today is the first day of spring I thought this would be a good time post to the blog with an update on our adventures in 2017 and to remind everyone that there is plenty of great skiing still to be had this year!

@MaineSkiFamily Old Man Enjoying a Perfect March Day at Sugarloaf

We have had some really good ski days this year. Most recently at Sugarloaf, we skied the aftermath of “Winter Storm Stella” on Wednesday and had a perfect, bluebird March ski day on Sunday. These were two spectacular ski days that we will remember for a long time. Sugarloaf is set up well for the spring ski season with a deep base on their trails.

Skiing on our Boyne New England pass has been fun this year. We got some early season ski days in at Sunday River and skied a bunch of days at Sugarloaf. We also have hit up two of our favorite mid-sized mountains in Mt. Abram and Black Mountain of Maine.

Followers of this blog know that we significantly miss Saddleback of course. The second season in a row that the mountain has not been able to open. Some people have been able to hike the mountain and get some "earn your turn" ski runs in which is fun to see on social media. The Saddleback Mountain Foundation, a community group organized to purchase Saddleback, recently named a board of directors and are actively seeking to submit their 501 3(c) non-profit application. So there must be enough interest from the Saddleback current owners to keep this effort by the foundation moving forward? I hope there is a positive outcome for next ski season. Here is a link to the latest update from the foundation and keep an eye for a new foundation website launch soon at this URL.

I find spring skiing a lot of fun. I very much dislike mud season in the lowlands… but it is great to be able to escape to the mountains of Maine and carve up the soft spring corn snow. So don’t let the “first day of spring’ banter diminish your ski days! The sun is high and bright! The temperatures are comfortable and there is fun abound! March and April are great times to ski in Maine!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Black Mountain of Maine - December 30-31 2016 - 100% Open and 100% Fun

During the summer and fall of 2015, the Angry Beavers of Black Mountain Maine worked hard to expand the gladed terrain at Black. Then we got the winter we would rather forget a.k.a. NO SNOW so they were not able to enjoy the fruits of their efforts. That did not deter them, and they kept cutting the summer and fall of 2016. Finally, they were rewarded with a two foot snowstorm and @MaineSkiFamily happily skied the many new glades at Black.

@AlecPhoto and @ISalisbury enjoying the new Wild glade at Black Mountain of Maine
Black was 100% open today! We are silver pass holders at Sugarloaf and Sunday River so we were blacked out during Christmas vacation week, but we don't mind as we love to explore other mountains in Maine. At $37 the ticket rate is absolutely the best skiing value in Maine. Black has nice cruisers, a great bump run under the main triple chair and enough glades to keep everyone happy all day. I highly recommend Black!

Here is an old man bump run under the chair for all the @MaineSkiFamily fans on the lift. ;-)

And the boys found plenty of hucks in the woods.

Lastly a video edit for December 30, 2016. Lots of great shots of the new gladed terrain at Black. Enjoy and get to Black!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

2016-17 Ski Season in Maine off to a Strong Start!

What a difference a year makes. Here is a picture of Sugarloaf from last year (December 18, 2016). Yuck!

Yesterday (December 17)  we had a EPIC day at Sugarloaf. The 6" received during the day on Saturday on top of the 8" from earlier in the week, plus the cold snowmaking temps over the last few
It was fresh snow all day at Sugarloaf (Dec 17, 2016)
weeks have really opened things up. They are skiing about 77 trails with open terrain from the top of the old Bucksaw lift in the east over to the King Pine lift area in the west.

Reports from all over Maine have been excellent. Sunday River, Mt. Abram, Lost Valley, Big Rock, Shawnee Peak all have great coverage and terrain open. While today's weather is mixed and messy, more cold weather is in the forecast and conditions should bounce back quickly. On the right sidebar of the blog I have added a link to get up to date Maine ski area mountain reports directly from their respective websites.

My youngest son took advantage of his closer proximity to Sugarloaf (he is a freshman at Thomas College in Waterville) and got in a powder day at Sugarloaf on Monday December 12th as well. After last year's miserable season, it is great to see skiing in Maine off to such a strong start!

Here are a couple of our video compilations from our two recent powder days. Enjoy the videos and all of us @MaineSkiFamily wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year... and Happy Skiing!

December 12, 2016 - Sugarloaf

December 17, 2016 - Sugarloaf